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Writing Blog 2

Today's Mantra: Fuck Writing Lists

Roderick Campbell

by Janne Robinson

My new business mantra as a writer is fuck lists.

Top 5 reasons you should drink coconut water.

Top 10 things Yogi’s do.

5 ways to make her scream.

10 ways to make click hungry readers with the attention span of gerbils visit your website.

The average person listens on average for 16 seconds.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013.

Goldfish have an attention span of nine seconds—one second more than you and I.

So, how long do you think we read for?

Lists make sense for publications because with our one-click, go-go-gadget instant gratification, go get it generation, it’s a way to let us estimate the total time to read something.

We are all important and busy—we don’t have time for anything, including reading.

“Too long, next,” our brains say, yawning as an article reaches 1,000 words.

We are hungry for information, stimulation, entertainment—more, more, more. Now, now, now.

We’re all hungry for our next hit of fast information, inspiration—cracked out on social media endorphin likes.

I’ve written a few lists, and some of them did really well.

Six months ago, I went, “Ah, hell—people want lists. I’ll give them lists. They are easy to write and do well.”

But I recently realized I don’t want to write lists, anymore.

The amount of lists all over the magazine covers and my news feed make me sick.

I know in my marketing brain that I can rack up viewers and clicks if I write lists and number my words in clean digestible bulletin points—but because I have this awareness, it feels cheap and easy.

So my new business mantra is: Fuck Lists.

Lists are for sell outs.

We need to stop pumping out lists, and start teaching our generation the art of patience, of delayed gratification and presence.